This is why we are Jersey Strong!

Regardless of what state I am in or the classiness of the bar I attend, I am greeted with the same series of questions by every single bouncer:

1. You know the guys from Jersey Shore?
2. Are you all like that?
3. Should I watch out for you since you are from Jersey?
4. Jersey sucks

Thank you to the mental impaired cast of Jersey Shore for six magnificently destructive years of bad television. Like a facial wart that would just not go away, Jersey Shore has managed to destroy the reputation of New Jersey far worse than even the Sopranos, that spring break episode of American Dad with the bus load from Rutgers, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Real Housewives of Jersey, My Big Friggin Wedding, Charles in Charge, The Richard Bay Show, Jerseylicious or Bikini Barbershop.

Thank goodness Empire Boardwalk and House were there to redeem us the last few years.

Now as we rebuild New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, we are certain, we will be better than ever!!

For those of you outsiders that have never seen New Jersey past the Newark or Liberty International Airport, you may be in for a rude awakening. There is a reason we are called the Garden State.

Here are a few facts about New Jersey that may surprise you and hopefully the brilliant minds in television development will think twice again before airing shows like Jersey Shore.

1. There are 9800 operational farms in New Jersey and the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production as well as top five in tomato production.

2. Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida.

3. New Jersey has more race horses than Kentucky and the National Equestrian team trains here.

4. On November 11, 2010, 671 students and staff members of The Lawrenceville School in central New Jersey set the new Guinness World Record for the biggest custard pie fight.

5. New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World.”

6. New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, one of the first symbols of American for many.

7. In 1884, a young Milton S. Hershey learned the art of candy making as an apprentice at Day’s Restaurant in Morristown, after which he returned to Pennsylvania to start the world-famous Hershey chocolate candy empire. Yes Jersey helped make chocolate available to the masses.

8. The Passaic River in Paterson was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.

9. New Jersey has the most stringent testing along our coastline for water quality control than any other seaboard state in the entire country.

10. The first national historic park in America was established in 1933 in Morristown.

11. The world’s largest elephant statue, Lucy the Elephant, is in Margate.

12. The famous Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.

13. The first copper mine in America was opened by enterprising Dutch settlers in the Kittatinny Mountains, circa 1640.

14. Famous NJ natives include William “Bud” Abbot, Alan Alda, Jason Alexander, Robert Blake, David Copperfield, Lou Costello, Tom Cruise, Sandra Dee, Brian DePalma, Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Kirsten Dunst, John Forsythe, James Gandolfini, Janeane Garafolo, Savion Glover, Ethan Hawke, Frank Langella, Jerry Lewis, Ray Liotta, Bette Midler, Frankie Muniz, Ozzie Nelson, Bebe Neuwirth, Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci, Christopher Reeve, Paul Robeson, Susan Sarandon, Roy Schneider, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, Loretta Swit, John Travolta, Lee Van Cleef, “Uncle” Floyd Vivino, Bruce Willis, Clerow “Flip” Wilson, Scott Wolfe, William “Count” Basie, Jon Bon Jovi, Connie Francis, Deborah Harry, Lauryn Hill, Whitney Houston, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Les Paul, Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Frankie Vallie, Sarah Vaughn, Dionne Warwick, Yogi Berra, Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Vince Lombardi, Shaquille O’Neal, Joe Theismann, Buzz Aldrin, Aaron Burr, Clara Barton, Thomas Paine, Molly Pitcher, Betsy Ross, Harriet Tubman, President Woodrow Wilson, President Grover Cleveland, Judy Blume, James Fenimore Cooper, Stephen Crane, Allen Gingsburg, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Toni Morrison, Norman Mailer, Dorothy Parker, Philip Roth, Albert Payson Terhune, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Malcolm Forbes, Robert Wood Johnson II, “Stormin” Norman Schwarzkopf, Samuel Colt, Thomas Edison, John P. Holland, Joe Piscopo, Marilynn McCoo, Eddie Money, Joyce Kilmer, Caesar Romero, Nathan Lane, Eva Marie Saint, Elisabeth Shue, Dave Thomas (Wendy’s), Robert Wuhl, Ernie Kovacs and Kelly Ripa.

15. Leo the MGM Lion, Cheetah the chimp and Elsie the Borden Cow are buried in New Jersey.

16. First Football Game – On November 6, 1869, Rutgers met Princeton in what is considered the first intercollegiate game of American football, although it bore no resemblance to today’s sport. The game was played with 25 players on a side and under Rutgers’ rules, meaning that the ball could only be advanced by kicking or batting it with the feet, hands, heads or body. Catching, carrying, and throwing the ball were all illegal. Rutgers won the game six goals to four. A week later, a rematch was held using Princeton rules, one of which was the rewarding of a “free kick” to a player who caught the ball. Princeton won this game eight to zero.

17. The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden in 1933.

18. NJ’s Pulaski Skyway, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway ever built.

19. The first Indian reservation was in the NJ Watchung Mountains.

20. The worlds largest brown bear (12 ft tall and over 2000 lbs) resided at Space Farms Zoo and Museum in Bemmerville until his death. “Goliath” is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest brown bear ever on record. His stuffed body is now on display at Space Farms.

21. The first steam locomotive to actually pull a train on a track was built by John Stevens of Hoboken in 1824.

22. The first robot to replace a human worker was used by General Motors in Ewing Township in 1961.

23. NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Holland Tunnel under the Hudson River.

24. In 1893, the world’s first film production studio, the Black Maria, was completed by Thomas Edison in West Orange.

25. The first balloon flight in America was made by Jean-Pierre Blanchard. On January 9,1793, he landed a balloon at Deptford carrying a letter from George Washington.

26. The first phonograph records were made in Camden, New Jersey.

27. The first recorded, official baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 in Hoboken.

28. The game Monopoly, played all over the world, named the streets on its playing board after actual streets in Atlantic City.

29. New Jersey has over 4,100 freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams — almost 61,000 acres of water

30. Picturesque Cape May holds the distinction of being the oldest seashore resort in the United States and one of the most unique.

31. Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world.

32. New Jersey has the tallest water tower in the world.

33. New Jersey has Sinatra and Springsteen

New Jersey is a state full of rich history and firsts. A state built on pride, family, nutrition, determination, hard work and celebration. We are a state that has a proud tradition and it continues to shine today. Others will continue to try and throw shots at Jersey and we welcome that. At the end of the day, we are all proud of where we came from. With all the innovation, creativity and hard work, New Jersey will continue to lead the nation and the world as we look past the horizon into the future.

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